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State of the Redskins: Breeland the bright spot on a struggling defense

Oct 21, 2015, 12:00 PM EDT


Here is where the Redskins stand in Week 7 of the NFL season.

Record: 2-4, T-4th in NFC East
vs. NFC East: 1-1
vs. NFC: 2-2
vs. AFC: 0-2
Home: 2-1
Away: 0-3

Key numbers changes from 2014-2015


Rankings (through Sunday’s games)

Offense (yards/game): 337.8 (25th)
Defense (yards/game): 340.7 (8th)
Passer rating offense: 77.0 (31st)
Opp passer rating: 93.4 (20th )
Yards/rush attempt: 3.9 (24th)
Opp. yards/rush attempt:
 4.6 (25th)
DVOA through Week 4 (Football Outsiders): -2.8% (15th)

Top three storylines:

Running game stuck in neutral—One bad rushing game could be a fluke. A second starts a trend. Three in four games is a problem. The Redskins were supposed to be a tough running team but they have mustered a total of just 85 yards rushing in their last two games. They have failed to run for over 100 yards in three of their last four games. Yes, teams are emphasizing stopping the run but missed blocks aren’t helping the situation.

Opponents running wild—Again, we have the makings of a trend as Devonta Freeman and Chris Ivory have left tire tracks over, around, and through the Redskins’ rushing defense in the last few weeks. They had better to ready for the Bucs’ Doug Martin, who could lay a buck and a quarter on them in a heartbeat.

Breeland shining—The bright spot on the team in the past couple of weeks has been the play of CB Bashaud Breeland. He had a late interception against the Falcons that could have clinched the game. Against the Jets he had three first-half takeaways that kept the Redskins in the game. He’s not flawless in coverage but he has been the team’s best playmaker on either side of the ball for the past two weeks.

Next three games

Sunday vs. Bucs (2-3)—Jameis Winston is struggling from time to time but he has had some good moments in his rookie season. The Bucs D can get after the quarterback and Doug Martin is enjoying a career revival. It should be remembered that the Bucs were on a five-game losing skid last year when they came into FedEx Field and enjoyed one of their few 2014 bright spots with a 27-7 win over the Redskins. Jay Gruden has declared this game to be a “code red”, must-win game.

November 8 @ Patriots (5-0)—After the bye, the Redskins travel to Foxborough to play the Patriots. I hear that they have managed to avoid the post-Super Bowl hangover and are pretty good again this year.

November 15 vs. Saints (2-4)—The Saints have struggled with Drew Brees suffering from arm problems and a defense that can’t stop anybody. But they did manage to knock off the undefeated Falcons last Thursday and are likely to be fighting for their playoff lives when they come to FedEx Field.

  1. Kenneth - Oct 21, 2015 at 12:30 PM

    I’ve noticed a very interesting stat that you keep leaving off of these. Points per game scored this year versus last,and points per game given up this year versus last. Wouldn’t that tell a much better story as to where the team is versus last year?

    • Skulb - Oct 21, 2015 at 4:45 PM

      I think they are last in points scored pr game now but pretty good in points allowed. Better defense, sputtering offense. Makes sense to me.

  2. thinmints11 - Oct 21, 2015 at 12:35 PM


    Assuming another disappointing outing by Kirk on Sunday with a bye week following, how much longer does Jay “back” his QB’s below-average play? This team is clearly not built for a playoff run, but how much “development” can Cousins have in the following weeks after a couple of brutal outings… by no means is a QB controversy the term to define the situation, but how much give does Kirk’s leash have? The poor reads/decision making which leads to his frequent INTs has been routine since he’s come into the league. The improvement or change is not there, when does Jay face the facts and stop hoping for a miracle? HTTR

    • hail74 - Oct 21, 2015 at 1:17 PM

      I think Charley casserly summed it up best yesterday on nfl network when he said he himself wouldn’t bench cousins because there is no better alternative. His words”McCoy is a career backup and RG3 has shown he can’t learn this offense. Stick with Kirk whose only got a few games under his belt so you can know what you have to do next year”

      • Kenneth - Oct 21, 2015 at 1:21 PM

        And what quarterback talent has Casserly ever drafted/cultivated??

        • skinsgame - Oct 22, 2015 at 12:02 AM

          Really? Suddenly Kenneth is qualified to question a proven NFL talent evaluator. lol

      • princewilks - Oct 21, 2015 at 2:38 PM

        Actually, Casserly said that KC was the best option because ” McCoy’s arm talent makes him a backup and RG3 has not succeeded in this offense”

        Now, you tell me what success has Cousins had in any offense.

        I hate it when people are blind. RG3 is obviously not the option. Kirk is also not it because he must be color blind to continue to throw the ball to guys wearing the wrong jersey (yes, he throws the ball to defenders, because film shows his picks aren’t the result of 50/50 balls). Give Colt a chance. Like RG3 won’t learn how to read a defense, KC won’t learn how to cure his pick-prone throws.

        • Skulb - Oct 21, 2015 at 4:55 PM

          This is a generalization. Some of his picks are bad. Some are contested throws, tipped balls or good DB plays. It is even more annoying than people being “blind” when people interested in tearing Kirk down deliberately pretend that every INT is the same and 100% Kirk´s fault when they are not.
          Kirk has won two games with this offense, has played two decent games in close defeats and has had two poor games. He has been very good in completion rates, excellent at avoiding sacks and pressure and has performed well enough in the pocket. That is the success he has had with this offense. Two of the defeats were partly his fault directly, and the last one was more on him than any of the other three. But two of the defeats were not on him. He contributed to them but did not cause them. ST, the secondary and the offensive line caused the Dolphins loss and the D line caused the Atlanta game to go into overtime by not being able to stop Freeman running wild in crunch time. And in my view the play calling has been suspect in several of these games as well.
          I´ll give you the New York games as an indictment of Cousins. They were both bad games and he played quite badly in the first half of the Giants game and the second half of the Jets game. Both could still have been wins if there had been a running game though, or if the defense had been able to stop Eli Manning´s short passing and the running game of the Jets. It´s a team sport and pretending that everything bad that happens is the fault of the QB is pretty silly right now. He has given the team a chance to win despite the INTs, which is why he is the starter. This RGIII could not do last year because he did not pass the dang ball. You can not win if you´re three and out to sacks on 75% of your drives or fumble behind the LOS in every other game. His passing was even bad when he on rare occasion did manage to pass the ball. 4 TDs, 6 INTs last year.

        • thinmints11 - Oct 21, 2015 at 5:29 PM

          Skulb, I agree with most of what you said. There isn’t a good alternative to Kirk… I think everyone has come realize this. But when I, and many other people, watch him play… there always seems to be something missing from him every game. One game it will be accuracy, the next it will be decision making, the next it will be lack of awareness. He rarely seems to show up with the full package. His throws are consistently high/low or have too much loft. There has been zero progress since he came to the Skins and was handed a starting job.

          There was a telling stat the other day over on PFT… “Jamarcus Russell threw less INTs on more pass attempts than Cousins.” And Jamarcus didn’t have a Pierre Garcon or Desean Jackson to throw to either.

          I’ll leave that there.

  3. troylok - Oct 21, 2015 at 2:27 PM

    “Defense struggling” is in the headline but later it says the defense is ranked 8th?

    • goback2rfk - Oct 21, 2015 at 9:05 PM

      The pass rush sucks. No pressure at all. Kerrigan has disappeared from the defense. I barely see him make a tackle anymore. Kerrigan was playing for a contract in years past and now that he got the $$$ he is not playing as hard. He has been injured, but he is slower, less strong, and not as explosive off the ball.

  4. princewilks - Oct 21, 2015 at 2:43 PM

    That’s why i don’t look at those stats. The defense is 8th in yards allowed. But think about it, the opposing teams only have to move 30-40 yards downfield to score because KC threw one of his patented picks or couldn’t get a 1st down with his inaccurate throws behind/over the receiver and we have to punt from our 20.

    • Skulb - Oct 21, 2015 at 4:56 PM

      This is the worst football analysis I have seen in quite a while.

    • goback2rfk - Oct 21, 2015 at 9:02 PM

      I agree prince. Good analysis, good points. Kirk Cousins is the worst starting QB in the league. His passer QBR is 31st in the league.

    • skinsgame - Oct 22, 2015 at 12:12 AM

      The defense gave up over 400 yards to the last 2 opponents, nearly 500 yards to the Jets. The Jets also ran for 220 yards. Do you have the Internet?

  5. Johnny B. - Oct 21, 2015 at 8:50 PM

    How can anyone say that Cousins is bad and that he is not a NFL QB. He honestly has had 4 games this season to truly see what kind of a QB he is going to be. Out of the first 4 games he improved in each one. The last 2 games he had too much pressure on him. With no running game and no deep passes to drop the opponents defense back . Right now he is a rookie in his 4th year not Tom Brady or Manning . He can’t carry the team by himself he needs the run game and the deep threat. And for those who say that he can go deep just ask Moss and Dejax. I like RG3 and I know that he is going to start somewhere again but he can’t read a defense so in return he gets hurt. I just hope that we can get a real look at Cousins maybe we did get lucky.

    • goback2rfk - Oct 21, 2015 at 9:15 PM

      Rex Cousins is horrible. One of the worst QBR’s in the league. Kirk Cousins has the HIGHEST INT percentage for QB’s that have thrown at least 300 passes in the HISTORY of the NFL.

      If Rg3 is not good enough to start for us than why would he be good enough to start somewhere else? I do not think many teams would want to create a new offense around someone like RGme. I guess we will wait and see. They say the offense Ron ran in 2012 does not exist anymore in the NFL. If that is true Rob will never start again.

      • brucefan1 - Oct 21, 2015 at 9:59 PM

        Gee goback, I was under the impression that the kind of offense you claim DOESN’T EXIST is pretty much the ones they are running in Buffalo, San Francisco, Tennessee and, yes, Seattle.

        That’s not NOBODY!

        • goback2rfk - Oct 21, 2015 at 10:59 PM

          Gee bruce, those offenses you mentioned are SIMILIAR but not exactly the same that Rg3 ran in 2012.
          In 2012 the offense was a mixture of the spread offense with West Coast principles running from the read option and pistol formation. That offense was a hybrid offense that perfectly fit Rg3’s strong suits. That is not the offense they are running in Buffalo, San Fran, Tennesee, or Seattle.. While similar in many cases it is not the same. That 2012 offense was created by the brilliant Kyle Shanahan and company to accent Rob’s college skills.
          And those teams you mention have very little chance of ever needing Rob.
          Seattle is not ditching Wilson, Tennessee is not going to bail on Marioata, Buffalo maybe? Tyrod Taylor doesnt look that bad, and San Fran maybe, but would they ditch Crapernick for Rob. lol that would be funny.

    • brucefan1 - Oct 21, 2015 at 9:52 PM

      You might wanna try constantly crossing your fingers, tossing salt over your shoulder, rubbing a rabbit’s foot, looking on the ground for pennies, carrying around a horseshoe and knocking on every piece of wood you come across if you ever hope to get THAT lucky, B.!! LOL

      (Btw, to your original question, GOOD NFL quarterbacks are supposed to perform at least adequately when the team situation or game conditions are daunting. They lift their teams. It’s what the type you build around do. Any QB can thrive when most things are optimal. I don’t believe it’s a big surprise to anybody that Cousins has not performed adequately under the conditions he’s faced; he’s not a GOOD QB.)

      • goback2rfk - Oct 21, 2015 at 11:11 PM

        I agree Bruce, although Cousins is much more than not a GOOD QB. He is more like the worst QB the Redskins have had in the last decade or so. Put the INT’s to the side and his passes are not on target at all. The ball is behind the receiver or he has the receiver jumping for every ball. Although the stats do not show it much cause he completes a lot of under 10 yard passes his accuracy on mid range and long balls is awful.
        He is a great career backup but not a franchise guy.

      • Johnny B. - Oct 22, 2015 at 3:42 AM

        Yes that is true but not from a inexperienced Qb.

  6. goback2rfk - Oct 21, 2015 at 9:00 PM

    Yeah Breeland is good. He will get his contract from Danny boy when the time comes. I like Breeland a lot. He plays hard on every play. He is a stud. He still has some wrinkles to iron out but he will be around for awhile.
    I just ordered a Breeland jersey with priority shipping. I am going to wear it to the Panthers Skins game in a month. Way to go Breeland!

  7. Johnny B. - Oct 22, 2015 at 3:40 AM

    Payton Manning has more interceptions and ranked 32 of nfl QBs. Stats only tell half the truth.

    • redskinsnameisheretostay - Oct 22, 2015 at 8:41 PM

      What does any of this have to do with Breeland? Every week your cozy feelings of Cousins gets weaker and your desperate attempt to find a way to defend it gets weaker as well.

      • Johnny B. - Oct 22, 2015 at 9:03 PM

        I just want to see what we really have in him. And your man crush on RG3 has got to go.

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Oct 22, 2015 at 9:16 PM

          “I just want to see what we really have in him.”

          record pace to interceptions with an inability to hit a player on target downfield. Sure some of that is due to a pretty poorly run scheme by an equally flailing coach. Regardless what is seen in Cousins is that he isn’t the guy ones like you thought he was from preseason. Hopefully the ideal that preseason doesn’t normally transcend to regular season will be something you’ll eventually grasp.

        • Johnny B. - Oct 22, 2015 at 11:26 PM

          I am not looking for the preseason version of Cousins I am looking for the 2012 version or college. When I see a qb with talent I like to see if he has the guts to run with it or fizzle out.

  8. bigblackanvil - Oct 22, 2015 at 6:44 AM

    Casserly sounds crazy. He lost all credibility when he believes Kirk knows how to run this offense.

    • skinsgame - Oct 22, 2015 at 8:11 AM

      He’s saying he’s the best option at this point. Archives

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